Discover! – The Goodwater Loop at Lake Georgetown

By Lee Compton – February 1, 2015
Photography by Travis Perkins

Nestled on the northern tip of the San Gabriel River just west of Georgetown—a 40–minute drive from Austin—lies a dream trail perfect for mountain bikers, trail runners, and hikers alike. The 26–mile Goodwater Loop, which rims the shores of Lake Georgetown, offers recreational mountain bikers a rugged, rocky, technical, and rewarding ride. 

In summer, Lake Georgetown becomes a haven for water sports enthusiasts, cliff jumpers, and weekend campers. 

Reconstruction and development of the 26–mile trail rimming the lake started in 2003 as a partnership project between the Austin Ridge Riders Mountain Bike Club and the Army Corps of Engineers. Since then, approximately 3,700 volunteer hours have gone into the trail system’s upkeep. 

The full loop includes 5 miles of double track as well as a short, paved park road portion across from the dam. Technical singletrack comprises the remainder of the ride—offering terrain challenges for all riding levels.

In 2014, the Goodwater Loop was designated as an International Mountain Bicycling Association Epic trail—one of six such trails designated in the world in 2014, and the only one located in Texas. What is an Epic trail? The IMBA classifies it as: a trail of at least 20 miles in length, offering a demanding, technically-and-physically challenging singletrack riding experience, situated in a natural, backcountry setting. 

Out-and-back riders can start at any of the five parks spread out along the trail. Full-loopers should start at Cedar Breaks Park and head in a clockwise direction to complete the first (very technical) 9 miles early in the ride. Stop for water breaks as you come across several Native American sites marked by historical signs—giving a glimpse back in time to the cultural significance of the area. 

Both novice and expert riders are sure to be awed by the sweeping, cerulean-blue lake views as the trail weaves through ash juniper stands and cactus-strewn fields of limestone.

Allot 40 minutes of drive time to reach the lake from central Austin. Park day use is free. Open Sunday–Thursday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Friday–Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Trail maps are available at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers headquarters at the Overlook Park trailhead.  512-930-2283 



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